Technology is booming globally. What we thought of as impossible a decade back, is happening right in front of our eyes nowadays. And. the converse for this also true. We imagine battery-operated automated cars. No wonder, in the next few decades, we might see more automated cars than manual ones.
But, how did all this start? The answer to this is just one word, automation. As much as there is automation in the offline world, it is being more widely used on online platforms. Moreover, one of the key areas for this is marketing. Yes, we are talking about marketing automation here. But, what is it? How does it work? What are the benefits of marketing automation?
Let us walk you through it.
What is marketing automation?
Put down in simple words, we define it as the automation of marketing processes in your business. To elaborate, marketing automation is defined as the integration of software and technology in business processes to eliminate iterative tasks.
No, this does not mean that you can automate all processes. Rather, this means that you optimize the tasks in hand to get the work done quickly. Majority of marketers are opting for marketing automation. This allows them to focus on core business tasks instead of working tirelessly on repetitive tasks.
Once you know what is marketing automation, you must know its key areas as well.
Marketing automation: An overview
After knowing what is marketing automation, ever wondered what are the key areas which are automated? Well, let us brief you through that. There are 3 key areas which can be automated, not completely, but to an extent.
a) Email marketing:
This is oh-so-obvious! Considering the ample amount of consumer and business emails that drop-in, it isn’t feasible to reply to each one personally. Even if you plan on doing so, just chuck the idea. After all, it won’t just take up a lot of time, but is tiresome and will require lots of employees. And this surely isn’t a cost-effective decision. This is where email automation comes to rescue. There are many marketing automation software available which provide the option of automated replies. The emails can be automated in several ways including segmentation, using autoresponders, etc.
b) Social media marketing:
Almost every other person is out there on social media. So, with the immense traffic, it is essential to stay consistent to build your presence on the platform. Social media growth is all about consistency and content. While you cannot automate content, you can surely automate the process of regular engagement. Automation provides you with the liberty to engage with the potential leads and followers without putting in many efforts.
c) Landing pages:
No, you need not spend a big amount to get the website coded in HTML or CSS. Rather, nowadays, there are many templates available which eliminate the need to design the landing pages. A/B testing also allows copying the landing pages as well.
Automation of each of these sectors isn’t a hard nut to crack. If implemented well, it is surely a cakewalk. All you need to do is understand your business and target audience and market accordingly. Every business cannot work on the same strategy. Rather, there is no sure-shot guide to automate the business.
d) Problems that marketing automation solves
Many marketers tend to overburden themselves because of the business problems they are unable to solve. Some of these problems involve unqualified leads, inefficient engagement tracking, among several others. Automation plays a key role in resolving these issues to a major extent. Some of the common issues that automation helps in solving include:
e) Generating better results with fewer efforts:
The digital environment is fast-paced. This makes marketers feel that they are putting in fewer efforts which is possibly not the case. The marketers have packed-up schedules when they have to perform all tasks on their own. These include closing deals, lead generation and all other tasks possible. Marketing automation reduces the pressure of constantly working by automating these tasks. This allows them to focus on core tasks and strategize their business plans.
f) Tracking user engagement:
What is the use of putting in some much effort towards marketing and not seeing how well they are performing? User engagement optimization and tracking are quintessential as it allows the marketers to understand the ROI both on offline and online channels. This also allows building better relationships with consumers and delivering the right content to the right people.
g) Lead generation and conversion:
Generation of potential leads is a major challenge in the marketing funnel. Marketing automation allows you to find and nurture the potential leads throughout their journey. According to statistics, lead nurturing brings in about 50% more sales leads. Alongside, marketing automation helps in personalizing the buyer journey right from the first point of contact to lead scoring capabilities.
h) Reduction of marketing inefficiencies and technology gaps:
At times, the manual workflow does not provide as effective results as compared to an automated workflow. Marketing automation does just that. It helps in improving the overall marketing process, marketing campaign innovation and even delivering messages according to a buyer persona.
i) Marketing automation components
After knowing what marketing automation is and its benefits, let us help you understand its components. After all, these components provide the marketers with the capabilities to generate a high ROI. These include:
j) Central marketing database:
This system consists of all the marketing data in one place. It is like a ‘system of record’. Under this, you can also segment the data and customers on various parameters.
k) Engagement marketing engine:
This is like an environment in which all the curation and management of content takes place for the target audience and leads.
l) Analytics engine:
What is the use of all the efforts if you do not know which strategy worked and which didn’t? The analytics is a way to test the marketing ROI and revenue generation for the business.
m) Marketing-tech stack:
It is like the culmination of all the scalable and effective marketing applications to help you achieve the goals. This place is like a common path for buyers and marketers in the marketing and sales alignment process.
Process of Marketing Automation
One cannot just start with marketing automation and expect to gain the results instantaneously. Every process requires time. It is important for marketers to decide their goals and make the plan accordingly. Here is the process of marketing automation that one can follow:
Understand your business goals. This will not just help you but also your stakeholders to understand your expectations. Moreover, this makes it easier to choose the best marketing automation software for your business requirements. Classify the needs and wants of your business. This will help you in having a clear picture and find the solution to that. While planning, do it in such a way that the sales and marketing work in coordination.
Plans don’t work until you implement them. During the implementation phase, understand the workflows of every department. After choosing any specific automation platform, know who is going to operate it. Moreover, while implementing, find the solution that integrates the automation process well.
Once you have implemented the marketing automation strategy, constantly monitor the growth and analytics. This helps you have a clear picture of how the marketing activity is working. Alongside, keep a track of the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the areas with the highest ROI.
The last step is the optimization of workflow and automation process in case of any pitfalls. Not all strategies may work effectively. Once you have the KPI in hand, you can optimize your marketing activities at every step of the funnel. Ensure that you know your audience well and work for their benefits.
Best Marketing Automation Software
Once you have all the plans, how do you execute them? You need marketing automation software for that. But, with so many of them available on the web, how do you choose the best one? Let us help you with that. Here are some of the best marketing automation software that you can choose from.
It is the all-in-one marketing automation platform. Right from lead generation to sales closing, they are there with you at every step. They help in visualizing the customer journey and delivering relevant content accordingly. Here are the features offered:
- Connection of several channels for omnichannel marketing
- Quick and easy setup with pre-built automation workflows
- Tracking customer’s actions
- Sending personalized emails to leads and contacts
- Converting the website traffic to sales
- Nurturing new signups
The list does not end here. There are several other features which you can explore through their site and avail benefits of.
- Constant Contact:
If you are focused more on email marketing, this platform is worth every penny. Moreover, they provide some unique features to make your marketing tactics stand out. Right from autoresponders to editing emails tools, they have it all. Also, their prices are highly cost-effective.
It is quite a popular name among the marketing automation tools. It is an inbound marketing tool which works wonders for content marketing. They also allow cross-platform and app integration.
To summarize, marketing automation is not just a buzzword, rather quintessential for every business. It is not a luxury and rather a necessity. If you want to upscale your business, deploy a marketing automation software right away and get started.